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Carter Praises U.S. Soldiers’ ‘Ferocious Ingenuity’

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2013 – Thanks, in part, to the efforts of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, success there is within sight, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter told soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas, yesterday.

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Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter thanks soldiers for their service during a visit to the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, Oct. 28, 2013. DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“We are being successful there in a way that I never thought was possible. … Because of your efforts, things really are getting turned over to the Afghans, and as you know very well, they are shouldering the burden,” Carter told the soldiers.

The Defense Department doesn’t take soldiers’ efforts for granted, the deputy secretary said.

“You are the ones who are actually doing the work, we're just supporting you. … That's Job 1 for us,” Carter said.

Over the past 12 years of war, the U.S. Army has shown itself to be the most-adaptive military force in history, he said.

“Who'd have ever thought we'd be doing the kind of thing that we were doing in Iraq and Afghanistan?” Carter said. “And yet, we asked you to do it, and you took on things that no military has ever done before, and no military in the world could ever come close to doing, and you did it. And that tells me that the Army will be up to whatever the future holds.”

Predicting the future is difficult, he said, but the Pentagon strives to plan in spite of the uncertainties.

Yet, “what we're really counting on isn't our own crystal ball, because it's not that good,” Carter said. “What we're really counting on is something we know we have, which is the tremendous ingenuity, the ferocious ingenuity of the U.S. Army.”

The current political squabbles in the nation’s capital are disruptive to the U.S. military, he said.

“Having just flown [-in] from Washington … there's nothing good I can say about it,” Carter said. “It's inexcusable. It's leading to real disruption in how we manage our armed forces.

I think that we'll get through this,” he continued, “but I just wanted you to know that in the meantime, [Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel] and I and the entire leadership are doing the best we can to minimize the disruption on you and your mission.”

Carter is on a multi-day trip to visit bases in Texas, including yesterday’s stop at Fort Hood. Today at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Carter will present Purple Heart medals and certificates to six soldiers that were wounded in Afghanistan.


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